"The moustache has gotta go" ......why?

I've mentioned before that I watch a lot of YouTube reaction videos. Some of those reacting to the second, extended, Sherlock special trailer have been slightly frustrating.

An example (source Blake Dale)
Firstly, I must complain that there haven't been enough reaction videos. They have become something of an addiction for me (yes I know it's sad). The thing that does irk me though is the obsession some Sherlock fans have with Watson's moustache.

One such video ended with one of the ladies participating saying "the moustache has gotta go". Why? It is perfectly apt for the time period concerned and is how Watson was depicted in the original illustrations. You cannot expect to have modern Sherlock in a Victorian setting. I doubt that would work, it's not what Moffat and Gatiss are going for and, in my opinion, defeats the object of having a special at all. The whole point of the special is that it should stand apart. It takes more than hansom cabs and frock coats to do that. It requires a full embrace of the period which includes mannerisms, language, culture and facial hair. Same goes for Lestrade's impressive side-burns.

Is it just me that feels a Victorian-based Watson would not be right without the hairy lip?

Written by Alistair Duncan
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1 comment:

  1. As Sherlockians (or Holmesians) we must be careful not to confuse the modern-day set BBC Sherlock with Doyle's stories and the fans of a TV show with the fans of a set of nineteenth century stories---despite the overlap that two categories have. The literary and Victorian set Watson had a mustache according to Doyle and Paget and certainly was appropriate for the times. The modern-day TV Watson doesn't have a mustache and the actor who plays him rarely wore one for his roles. The TV show fans are used to a clean-lipped Martin Freeman and a clean-lipped Watson. In fact, the literary Watson has little of the emotional resonance for the TV show fan compared to Freeman's John and so a Victorian set Sherlock and John is not a reset to the original source, but BBC Sherlock is the original source where a hairless John is the norm and a hirsute Watson is an abnormality. So then it is not surprising that a good percentage for the TV show fans find the change to "their John" dismaying. The special is not" a return to the Canon", the first three series are "the canon" and "The Abominable Bride" a time-travel or dream sequence aberration, a fun lark, to sate the fan until the "real" Sherlock and John return. John's 'stache, then, is to the modern fan is like the horse droppings in Victorian Baker Street, an historical detail not necessary to the enjoyment of the TV movie and perhaps a little disturbing to those living in an automotive world.